Car bomb kills 4 in Kirkuk; US soldier killed

A car bombing against the offices of the PUK in Kirkuk killed at least 4 and wounded 37, 7 critically. A car bombing targetting a tribal leader in Ramadi on Wednesday killed 2.

A US soldier was also killed in a convoy bombing east of Ramadi.

A "pro-US" politician was assassinated in Basra. Sargoun Nanou Murado, a member of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, had been abducted on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a US general is claiming that the new operations against Iraqi guerillas have been a success: "Attacks on the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division have dropped by about 70 percent since the unit began an offensive against known guerrilla cells in Baghdad, the commander of the unit said Thursday."

This latest pronouncement of progress follows earlier reports that the US military was looking to demonstrate its "overwhelming firepower" to the guerillas. But with all due respect to the generals, it is almost certain that the guerillas know that they are "outmatched" and do not possess an arsenal comparable to that of the United States. The overwhelming majority of them, being Iraqis, were in Iraq when the US invaded in the first place. They have had ample opportunity to witness first-hand what kinds of weapons the US has at its disposal. That is the reason they are fighting a guerilla war and not marching out in neat formations to fight US soldiers head-on.

Only time will tell how effective these operations will be. Normally, when outmatched guerillas come under this kind of attack, they will simply blend back into the population, wait out the attacks, and carry out other, non-combat operations (like intelligence gathering and recruitment). It is possible that this decline in attacks against US military personnel will last only as long as aggressive US operations last.

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